SRC board unaware of account into which RM2 bil deposited, Najib trial told

Ismee Ismail, the former chairman of SRC International.

KUALA LUMPUR: SRC International Sdn Bhd’s board of directors were kept in the dark on its bank account used to receive a RM2 billion loan from a pensioners’ fund, the corruption and abuse of power trial of Najib Razak heard today.

Ismee Ismail, the former chairman of SRC International, said this resulted in the company opening another current account at the Jalan Raja Chulan Ambank branch in November 2011.

The 39th prosecution witness said he was shocked when it was known later that SRC had opened an account at the same bank earlier, in January 2011.

“The board, at its Aug 23, 2001 meeting, decided to open the new account as we were unaware of the existence of the first account,” Ismee said when cross-examined by Najib’s lawyer Harvinderjit Singh.

He said Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil, who had been a SRC director since the company’s inception in January 2011 and who became CEO on Aug 1, 2011, did not inform the board, which held its first meeting on Aug 23, 2011, about this.

Ismee said he also subsequently came to know that the four signatories to the first bank account were Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halmi, Tang Keng Chee, Radhi Mohamed and Nik Faisal.

He said the account was opened by Shahrol, who was then CEO of 1MDB, the holding company of SRC.

Harviderjit: Was the board told that the four signatories had control over the account?

Ismee: No, I was not informed.

Harvinderjit: Did Shahrol inform you about the first account?

Ismee: He did not mention that to me.

Harvinderjit: Is this quite shocking to you?

Ismee: Yes.

Harvinderjit: Is this a serious transgression — of not informing the board about the account?

Ismee: I suppose so.

Jalan Raja Chulan Ambank branch manager R Uma Devi, a prosecution witness, had earlier testified that RM500 million in four tranches were deposited in the first account on Aug 29, 2011.

Uma Devi had also told the court that KWAP (the pensioner’s fund) had deposited another RM2 billion into the second SRC account on March 28, 2012.

A total of RM42 million from this amount was credited into Najib’s two accounts in Ambank through a series of “layering.”

Ismee had told the court on Monday that Nik Faisal had met Najib on Sept 7, 2011, when it was decided that RM1.5 billion be deposited in a Swiss bank, RM300 million in Hong Kong and other RM200 million kept locally for SRC’s operational costs.

Najib faces six charges of money laundering and criminal breach of trust in the transfer of RM42 million to his account from SRC International.

He is also accused of abusing his power as prime minister by giving government guarantees on SRC International’s RM4 billion loan from Retirement Fund Inc.

Hearing before judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali continues.